The oncology day unit at Weston General Hospital has adopted a wireless system to enable it to carry out efficient electronic prescribing.

Staff at the day unit have been using the Dell wireless network in conjunction with MOSAIQ chemotherapy electronic prescription software since February.

The unit is equipped with four Dell workstations on wheels, which the staff take to a patient’s bed. This enables them to carry out an assessment of the patient and then access MOSAIQ on the spot.

MOSAIQ replaces a system of pre-printed prescriptions, said Dr Serena Hillman, consultant clinical oncologist and research and development director at the hospital.

“Every chemotherapy combination that we used was on a pre-printed prescription that had been checked by the appropriate consultant.

“Occasionally, those prescriptions would get lost because they were on paper. The last thing you want to be when you have chemotherapy is wait for two hours while somebody tries to find a paper script.”

Without a wireless network, e-prescribing was a two-stage process: nurses would to attend to the patient, make a written note, then walk to the desktop computer and re-enter the information into the MOSAIQ system.

The use of a wireless network makes the process more accurate and efficient, said Hillman.

“With the wireless network, our staff can wheel the computer up to the patient and do everything by the patient’s side. It’s much more accurate because you’re removing another step in the process.”

The new system had been welcomed by both nurses and patients, Hillman added.

As well as cutting wasted time and potential errors, the system has enabled the pharmacy to improve its planning, with the aim of reducing drug wastage.

MOSAIQ is interfaced with Cerner Millennium, the hospital’s patient administration system, and there are plans to create an interface with its pathology system in the second phase of an implementation project.

Phase 2 will also see the extension of MOSAIQ for use with oral chemotherapy – at the moment it is only used for intravenous chemotherapy.

Because the wireless system has proved successful at the oncology day unit, it will now be extended throughout the trust.